Friday, 25 July 2014

Thoughts Upon Finishing Part One

You're way ahead of me, Chris. I could offer all sorts of excuses, throwing in a couple of gruelling drives between London and Montreal into the mix, but in truth blame falls on the general himself. I was brought down by his Foreword… No, wait, that was by Sir William Stevenson. I mean after the Foreword, and after the Acknowledgements, and after “German Military Titles and Terms". What I'm referring to is the Prologue, in which Rohmer introduces the idea of an armistice attempt in the Falaise Gap.

Oh, man, the Falaise Gap. Again? Do I have to?

I admit that I found it surprising, but in no way intriguing, that Rohmer used "Falaise Gap" instead of "Patton's Gap". You know he wanted to.

About Patton's Gap – the book, not the space between two consecutive elements proceeding on the same route – in Rommel and Patton Rohmer writes:
By the time I had finished I had discovered several very important pieces of evidence suggesting that there had indeed been a secret armistice attempt.
Had he? Had he, really?

Rohmer's discoveries consist of an unsupportive half-sentence pulled from Allan Dulles' 1947 New York Times bestseller and an old Time article that Rohmer himself acknowledges is inaccurate and unreliable. He tries to shore these up with quotes from Udo Esch and Adolf Hitler. From whence come they? Rohmer won't tell you, but I will. Both are lifted translations made of original documents found in Anthony Cave Brown’s The Bodyguard of Lies (1975).

In short, Rohmer discovered nothing. What he should have written is:
By the time I had finished I had read several previously published, highly accessible writings that led me to believe there had indeed been a secret armistice attempt.
This brings to mind the “four unusual research ‘accidents’ that allowed" Patton’s Gap to be written:
  1. Rohmer discovers the 430 Squadron log book. Because it's on display.
  2. Rohmer asks the widow of a squadron member whether she might have copies of two photographs. She does.
  3. Rohmer reads Dirk Bogard’s Snakes and Ladders and learns that the actor was likely the man who interpreted his photographs. Bogard agrees.
  4. Rohmer tells the Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Historical Research Foundation that he is researching a book. The director shares some old notes.
I'm probably taking things too personally, spending so much of my time researching and all… when I'm not driving between London and Montreal.

Bloomer :
Naturally he [Patton] would seize the opportunity to speak to these young boys, pump them up.


  1. I can't wait until you guys get to the end of this book so we can discuss these stunning revelations, and how they inform Rohmer's choice of title(s) for this book.

    Oh, and I was wrong. The whole thing doesn't come down to an up or down decision from Omar Bradley. "Do I accept this offer? I... do... not."

    The end.

    I underestimated Rohmer. And I apologize.

    I look forward to your reactions to this, when you get there, too.

    1. I liked the ending. That is if we consider the Epilogue and Appendices as nothing but added bumf (which they are, though a very personal agenda is involved).